The Lover (by Amanda Brookfield)

It was three years ago that I first borrowed and read a book by Amanda Brookfield. I enjoyed it, and have acquired a few others since then, all of which I have liked. I was delighted to discover a couple more a few months ago, in a bag which a relative was about to take to her local charity shop.

In the past week I've been reading one of them, 'The Lover'. It's about Frances, who was a fairly contented mother of two young adults, until her life is shattered by the sudden death of her husband. This happens shortly before the story begins; the first chapter is about his funeral, which did slightly make me roll my eyes since it's a much-used device in fiction. But it wasn't a problem; relatives and friends are introduced, and Frances comes across, right at the start, as a sympathetic character.

The first half of the book shows Frances' life as she begins to come to terms with her loss. It gives a sensitive account of her journey through grief, and the struggles she has to relate to her friends and acquaintances as a widowed woman and to work out what her role is, now she is no longer a wife. Her daughter lives in France, and her son is at university, so there are times when she feels that there is almost nothing left to live for.

Eventually she decides to make something of an effort, and then meets someone new and rather attractive... the rest of the book explores her growing awareness of herself, and various issues that arise as she embarks on a relationship that is very different from the one she had with her husband.

The writing is good, the characters realistic and believable. I found the story interesting, and the resolution satisfying, despite a few shocks along the way. As with other books by this author, there was rather more bad language than I'm comfortable with, mostly seeming quite unnecessary.

But still, I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to anyone who likes women's literature of this nature. Not always in print, like many of Amanda Brookfield's novels, but fairly easily found second-hand. 'The Lover' is also now available in Kindle form.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 29th July 2011

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